Saturday, January 26, 2019

Nissanka Latha Mandapaya

Nissanka Latha Mandapaya
Nissanka Latha Mandapaya (lit: Nissanka Flower-trail hall) is a pillared pavilion found in the sacred quadrangle of the Ancient City of Polonnaruwa, Sri Lanka.

According to several historical sources, this building was constructed by King Nissankamalla [(1187-1196 A.D.) Coomaraswamy, 1927, Nicholas, 1963]. The portico slab-inscription of Hetadage and the Gal Potha inscription have confirmed that this building was known at the time as Nissanka Latha Mandapaya (Wikramasinghe, 1928). Historical sources further reveal that this is the place where Nissankamalla worshiped the Tooth Relic (Nicholas, 1963) or listened to the chanting of Pirith [(recital of Buddhist scriptures) Chaturawong, 2017].

The pavilion contains eight curvilinear pillars (Coomaraswamy, 1927) and is surrounded by a wall known as the Buddhist-railing (Wikramagamage, 2004). The pillars are fixed on an elevated stone platform and arranged in two rows, with four in each row. These pillars are considered unusual and unique as they have been curved like a lotus stalk with a flower as the capital. Stone pillars similar to Nissanka Latha Mandapa are also found in a building located near to Satmahal Prasadaya.

The original building is thought to be covered with a roof. In the center of the building is a small rock-cut Stupa of which the top has been truncated. Probably this had been used as a stand to receive the relic casket during Pirith chanting.

The stone Stupa in the center of the Mandapaya Pillars similar to Nissanka Latha Mandapaya are found in a building located near to Satmahal Prasadaya
1) Chaturawong, C., 2017. Mandapas of India, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, and Thailand. In India-Thailand Cultural Interactions. Springer, Singapore. p.68.
2)  Coomaraswamy, A.K., 1927. History of Indian and Indonesian art. London. p.165.
3) Nicholas, C. W., 1963. Historical topography of ancient and medieval Ceylon. Journal of the Ceylon Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, New Series, vol VI, Special Number: Colombo. Royal Asiatic Society (Ceylon Branch). p..178.
4) Wikramagamage, C., 2004. Heritage of Rajarata: Major natural, cultural and historic sites: Colombo. Central Bank of Sri Lanka. p.210.
5) Wikramasinghe, D.M.D.Z., 1928. Epigraphia Zeylanica: Being Lithic and Other Inscriptions of Ceylon :Vol. II. Published for the Government of Ceylon by Humphrey Milford Oxford University Press, Amen House, E.C. London. pp.84-90, 121.

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This page was last updated on 3 October 2020
For a complete tourist map follow this link: Lankapradeepa Tourist Map


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